Confetti Sugar Cookies

Confetti Sugar Cookies

I was scrolling through pins on Pinterest and a photo from Deliciously Sprinkled caught my eye.  While the Funfetti cake looked absolutely delicious, I was really drawn to the color of the sprinkles she used. The colors were just so vibrant, with every color of the rainbow.  Most importantly, they don’t have any brown sprinkles which I don’t like the look or taste of.  In the post, Jenn said she bought them in bulk from Nuts.com. I haven’t heard of Nuts.com before, but I certainly had to check out these sprinkles.  Not only are they beautiful in color but they are only $2.99/pound!  I also like that these jimmies have more of a crunchy texture rather than a waxy texture like other sprinkles. I know they are only sprinkles and it’s probably silly how I talk about them like I am in love or something. But, I can’t help but get excited about new baking product finds and I had to share. I immediately ordered 2 pounds of the rainbow jimmies, a pound of nonpareils, a bunch of dried fruit and nuts. My kids especially loved the dried strawberries, dried berry mix and dark chocolate covered almonds.  There are so many things I still need to try.

So, now that I had 2 pounds of rainbow jimmies, I had to find something to make with them. I really didn’t feel like making cake or cupcakes. Instead, I decided to make these confetti cookies and they were exactly what I was looking for.  I like that there aren’t many ingredients; it’s all stuff you probably have on hand. The dough comes together easily and quickly and in no time, you have about 3 dozen delicious buttery sugar cookies. The texture of these cookies is really soft, which is a nice contrast to the sugar crust on the outside.  Sadly (embarrassingly?), we tore through all these cookies in only 2 days. And in 2 weeks, I went through a whole pound of rainbow jimmies between these confetti cookies and another super delicious frosted sugar cookie recipe that I hope to share soon.

Confetti Sugar Cookies

Yield: ~36 cookies (I got 34)

1 1/3 cup butter @ room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract   I used vanilla bean paste

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sprinkles   Jimmies don’t bleed like nonpareils (the beads)

granulated sugar for the top of the cookies   (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat

In the bowl of your KitchenAid mixer, beat together the softened butter and sugar with the paddle attachment. Continue to beat until light and fluffy ~ 3 minutes.

Beat in the 2 eggs and vanilla until completely combined.

In a small bowl, with a whisk, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing until combined and the dough comes together.

Gently fold in the sprinkles with a spatula to prevent the colors from bleeding.

With a cookie scoop, drop balls of dough on the prepared baking sheet, about 1-inch apart.

Optional step: Place about a 1/4 cup of granulated sugar in a small bowl. Roll just the top of each dough ball into the sugar  (this makes them sparkle and gives them a sweet crust)

Bake for ~11 minutes or until edges are just starting to turn golden. (Turn the cookie tray around at about 6 min). The tops will look just slightly underdone.

Cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Source:  Buns In My Oven adapted from allrecipes.com

Note: I don’t have any affiliation with Nuts.com, nor was I paid at all for this post. I just really like their products and wanted to share.
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Johnny’s Crumb Cake

Johnny's crumb cake

I think the first time I saw or even heard of Johnny Iuzzini was when he was a judge on Top Chef.  To me, there isn’t anything much cooler than a motorcycle riding, modern-day Elvis looking guy with tattoos who also happens to be a pastry chef.  Super cool!  I saw Johnny wrote a new book, Sugar Rush, but unfortunately, I was not able to cross it off my Christmas wish list. Luckily I came across this crumb cake recipe from his book, so I thought I would try a recipe before I bought it.  Since it will probably be a long time before I get to taste one of his actual desserts, making one of Johnny’s recipes is the next best thing. And, crumb cake is a perfect place to start because everyone in my family loves coffee cake. What I love about this recipe is that as a pastry chef, besides the traditional measurements, all the ingredients are given by weight. Baking is about being precise and if you say you aren’t a baker, this is the way to get good results every time as long as you have a good, reliable recipe. No measuring cups are needed, you just keep adding ingredients and zeroing out the scale for each new ingredient. I had my scale for like a year before I used it because for some reason, even as a pharmacist, using it was intimidating probably because it was just different from what I was used to. But now, if there are weight measurements, I use them.  You won’t believe the difference.

A few notes about this recipe. First, the batter barely covers the pan. I checked the pan size like five times, but it is 13×9.  I was worried that I would have a really short cake. Second, the crumb is very wet and heavy and there is a ton of it compared to the cake. Given those two things, I didn’t think there was any way this recipe would work out. But, I knew I measured everything correctly, so I put it in the oven and crossed my fingers.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how much the cake rose. The cake is really fluffy and light, compared to some crumb cakes that can be a little dense. The crumb gets really crunchy on top, providing a perfect texture contrast to the cake.  Honestly, no joke, this one of the best crumb cakes I ever had.

Johnny Iuzzini’s Crumb Cake
Yield: 13×9 cake
Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour (250g)
5½ tablespoons (1/3 cup) unsalted butter (75g)
½ cup granulated sugar (100g)
1 large egg, at room temperature
¼ cup sour cream, at room temperature (60g)
⅔ cup milk, at room temperature (160g)
1 tablespoon vanilla (15g)
1 tablespoon baking powder (12g)
pinch of kosher salt
Crumb topping
2¼ cups all-purpose flour (280g)
1¼ cups packed light brown sugar (290g)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (6g)
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted (226g)
Instructions:
Take out and measure the ingredients that need to be at room temperature: sour cream, milk, eggs and butter.
Make sure the baking rack is in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 350ºF.
Spray a 9×13-inch glass baking pan (I used a metal pan) with Pam. Lightly dust with flour and tap out any excess
In the bowl of your KitchenAid, beat the butter and sugar with the paddle until light and fluffy, ~ 3 minutes.
Add in the egg and sour cream. Mix until combined.
In a measuring cup, whisk together the milk and the vanilla.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Sprinkle in the pinch of salt
With the mixer on low, alternately add the wet and dry ingredients. Start and finish with the dry ingredients. Make sure to stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, unless you a have a beater blade that does this for you
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Note: this barely covers the bottom of the pan.
Now, for the crumb topping:
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon until uniform.
Pour in the melted butter. Stir until completely moistened. This will be heavy, wet and lots of it. Make sure to use it all.
Roll the mixture between the tips of your fingers to make small balls of crumb
Scatter the topping evenly over the top of the batter in the pan, right from your hands as you roll it. Completely cover the cake batter. It will be about half cake to half crumb.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the center of the cake is firm to the touch and it springs back lightly when pressed.
Note: If the cake is not done in 30 minutes, reduce the temperature to 325ºF and continue to bake until done- checking frequently
Remove the cake from the oven. Lightly dust the cake with powdered sugar.
Allow the cake to cool completely and give it a generous dusting of powdered sugar
Source: Sugar Rush by Johnny Iuzzini, as seen on Taste and Tell

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Muffins

Chocolate chip sour cream muffins

 

As I have mentioned before, my kids love those Hostess mini muffins. They are so expensive and I know, not so good for you. I am always on the look out for some muffins I can make that the kids will eat and I can pronounce all the ingredients. I came across these a while back, I’m sure while browsing Pinterest, and knew they would fit the bill.  One of my favorite recipes, one step pound cake, contains sour cream that gives it a wonderful texture and richness. So, I guess that’s what drew me to this recipe.  This muffin batter is so super fast to put together that I can make it, hop in the shower, get dressed, take them out of the oven and give them to the kids for breakfast before school.  My 7-year-old daughter, Sammie, is not a morning person and absolutely hates to get out of bed for school.  But, when I tell her I made these muffins, she jumps out of bed and runs upstairs to get some. These are just perfect for Monday mornings when no one wants to get up and they are a great way to start the week off with happy kids with big chocolate covered lip smiles.

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Muffins

Yield: 12 standard muffins or 36 mini muffins or 24 mini muffins + 5 standard muffins

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1 cup sour cream

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit

1 teaspoon vanilla extract   I used vanilla bean paste

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips   I use ~3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chips with 1/4 cup finely chopped milk chocolate bar  (plus extra chips for the tops)

Coarse sugar crystals  optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F

Place muffin liners in your cupcake tin (how many depends on the size muffins you are making; see yield)

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients: the egg, sour cream, melted butter, and vanilla extract (or paste).  Whisk until well combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir gently with a rubber spatula until just combined.  If you stir too much, you will get dense muffins.

Gently fold in the chocolate chips (and chocolate pieces if you are using)  until just combined through.

With an ice cream scoop. fill each muffin liner about 3/4 full.

Add some decorative chocolate chips to the top of each muffin.   I like to sprinkle coarse sugar crystals on top for sparkle and crunch.

Bake until a toothpick in the center of the muffins comes out clean, about 14-18 minutes.  For the minis, it took about 14 min and the large muffins more like 18 min.

Allow them to cool on a wire rack until cool enough to handle. If you can..

Source:  The Curvy Carrot

Snickerdoodle Bars

Snickerdoodle bars

Yes, you guessed it, another Pinterest find.  Whenever I see the word snickerdoodle and it’s not a cookie, I am immediately interested. Why? Well, because it’s my husband’s favorite cookie.  But, you can only have so many snickerdoodle cookies.  Or, maybe not, if you are a die-hard snickerdoodle fan.  I have seen quick breads, cupcakes, muffins, even pancakes.  All are worth trying because who doesn’t like just about anything covered in cinnamon sugar?

It was Thursday night and I was supposed to make these snickerdoodle bars for a coworker’s last day in my department.  But, my husband is back coaching volleyball, so by the time I fed and bathed the kids, and then prepared everything for school the next day, I was way too tired.  My husband gets up for work at 5am and I couldn’t go back to sleep.  I don’t start work until 9, so I got up to make the bars.  Let me warn you, the first layer of batter is really hard to spread.  The problem is sticky batter and a well-greased pan are not conducive to spreading.  But, by dolloping and a lot of patience, something I didn’t have much of at 5am, it will spread.  The rest is easy. You just cover it with a generous layer of cinnamon sugar and dollop on the remaining batter.  Luckily, there is no more spreading. You want to see that cinnamon peaking through.  After the bars bake and cool, you drizzle them with a quick vanilla-scented, powdered sugar glaze.  That’s it.

Everyone at work was raving about these bars. I had to grab a small piece, you know, for quality control.  How else could I tell you how they taste?  And, I must say, they taste pretty amazing.  Hands down one of the best things I’ve baked in a while. So, good in fact, I made a another pan for my husband the very next day because I just couldn’t keep the deliciousness of these bars from him.  Justin proceeded to eat 6 bars for dessert, stuffing himself until he was sick.  These bars are so good, he went ahead and did the same thing at breakfast. I guess they’re worth it.

Snickerdoodle Bars
Yield: 13×9 pan

2 1/3 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cinnamon filling

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1 tsp of melted butter  Optional   (Note tsp not tbsp)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray the bottom only of a 13×9-inch baking pan with Pam. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your KitchenAid, beat butter on high until creamy. Beat in both sugars.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Beat in the vanilla.  On low, beat in dry ingredients until combined.

Spoon half of the batter into pan by the dollop.  Spread evenly. It takes awhile to spread the batter since it is sticky and the pan is slick. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar evenly over batter.

Dollop the remaining batter by the teaspoon evenly over cinnamon-sugar

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown, turning the pan at 10 minutes.  Test with a toothpick inserted in center. The bars are done when the toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely, ~ 1 hour.

In small bowl, stir glaze ingredients until smooth and thin enough to drizzle.  I put the glaze in a Ziploc bag, cut off the corner, and drizzled over the bars.

Source:  Betty Crocker

Sprinkles Cookies

Sprinkle cookies

Hello!  I’m sorry to have been gone so long.  I’ve really missed you and my blog….and I just had to share these sprinkles cookies from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.  I was scanning through Pinterest and the cuteness of these cookies caught my eye.  You know I’m always a sucker for sprinkles. Reading through the recipe, I was intrigued by the buttery sweet dough emulsion it called for.  Have you ever heard of this?  No?  Me neither.  Kristan said you could find it at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, but I could not.  And, while she said the ingredient was optional, it was not going to be for me.  I get my mind set on something and that’s it, it’s happening.  So, I just ordered it on Amazon and thank goodness with Prime I only had to wait 2 days.  Was it worth it?  Yes!  I loved the flavor it gave the cookies.  It’s the flavor of bakery cookies, you know the one you just can’t put your finger on and can’t seem to replicate? This is it.

At first, I thought these cookies were too sweet and I was disappointed. But, I swear, overnight some magical transformation took place and they were just perfect.  The cookie is buttery and soft.  The glaze hardens, adding sweetness and serving as glue for all those crunchy sprinkles.  My kids and husband went crazy for these, eating a fistful at a time.  I got about 50 adorable cookies, but that was not nearly enough. These cookies barely made it a day in this sugar-cookie-loving house.  Note to self: double recipe next time, okay?

Sprinkles Cookies

Yield: ~ 3 dozen ( I got 50)

Cookies

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp buttery sweet dough emulsion  optional

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Glaze:

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 tsp almond or vanilla extract  – clear if you want white glaze

3 oz jar rainbow nonpareils

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of your Kitchenaid, beat butter and sugar, on medium, until light and fluffy, ~ 3 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla, and buttery sweet dough emulsion, if using. Beat until combined.

On low, slowly add the flour mixture. Mix until a smooth dough forms.

Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour minimum.  I took the dough out of the bowl, shaped it into a thick rectangle and wrapped it in Saran Wrap.

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness on lightly floured counter or pastry mat. I found this dough to be crazy sticky- be liberal with the flour.  

Cut using a 2 1/2 inch round cutter. I used a 2 1/4 inch scalloped cutter.  Place on baking sheet ~1 inch apart. They don’t spread so you can fit a lot of cookies on a sheet.

Bake for 6 minutes. Watch carefully. There should be little to no color.  Remove and let cool completely on wire rack.

For the glaze:

In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, water and vanilla extract until smooth.  You may need to add water to get the glaze consistency you want.

Dip the cookies in the glaze face down, letting the excess drip off.

Place the dipped cookies on a wire rack set over wax paper and sprinkle liberally. Let set for about an hour before serving.

Source:  Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

Sprinkles cookies

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I keep seeing the same recipe for “The best chocolate chip cookie” all over Pinterest.  And well, no wonder, this chocolate chip cookie recipe has been viewed over 1.6 million times!!  Wow!  Well, I figured there must be something special about this recipe, so I had to make it and find out. Looking at the ingredient list, it includes all the usual stuff, but then there is cornstarch.  I’ve never seen cornstarch in a chocolate chip cookie recipe before.  I know you can make a cake flour substitute by adding cornstarch to flour and this must be the same idea.  The cornstarch contributes to their super soft texture and gives them their “puff”.   And, since I am in the soft chocolate chip cookie camp (crisp cookies? Yuck!), that is exactly what I am looking for.  I subbed in chocolate chunks cut from a Callebaut semisweet bar for the chocolate chips.  Without the stabilizers in the chunks, the chocolate can’t hold its shape, so it is all melty and gooey.  Have you ever tried this?  No?  You totally have to!

So, the verdict?  I have tried tons of chocolate chip recipes.  I mean, they are my absolute favorite cookies and all.  But, are they the best?  I almost never say that because there are still so many recipes still to try.  But, I will say they are pretty darn good.  Soft, thick and puffy, packed with melted chocolate chunks, still warm from the oven…. Do chocolate chip cookies get much better?  Jack and Sammie don’t think so.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen I got 21- though I had to throw the last 3 away because dang, I forgot about them and they burned 😦

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks-  I used Callebaut semisweet cut from a bar
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle, cream together butter and both sugars until fluffy and light colored.  Blend in the egg and vanilla.
Mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.   Mix the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture by hand.  Stir in chocolate chunks.   The batter is very stiff.
Using a standard-sized cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop dough onto a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until just barely golden brown around the edges.  Do not allow the cookies to brown on top, just the very edges.
Let cool, on the sheet, on a wire rack for five minutes to set.  Remove from the baking sheet and let cool completely on the wire rack, if you can wait.
Source:  Apple a Day, Originally from Anna Olson, Food Network Canada

Beer-Batter Cheese Bread

This month for What’s Baking, the theme quick breads was chosen by Jenna at Jenna’s Cooking Journey.  Sometimes, I have a little trouble with yeast or I don’t have time to wait for my dough to rise.  So, the beauty of quick breads is that they don’t use yeast, there is no rising time and you have homemade bread in under an hour.  Fabulous!  I don’t do a lot of savory baking, since we prefer sweets in my house.  But when I was looking for a quick bread recipe, the beer-batter cheese bread caught my eye.  My husband isn’t a big sweets guy, but he sure loves cheese and beer. 😀   So when I saw this bread, I immediately thought of him and how much he would love it.

To make the batter, you mix together the dry ingredients and with a light hand, mix in the wet ingredients. That’s it.  I am telling you, this batter will be ready before the oven is even preheated. How great is that?  Before baking, the bread is brushed with butter, which I was a bit nervous about thinking it might get too dark, even burn. But, as usual, America’s Test Kitchen knows what they are doing and the butter gave the crust it’s beautiful golden color.  After impatiently waiting the recommended hour for it to cool (okay I only waited a half hour), I cut a slice, put it in the toaster oven and slathered it with butter.  I was surprised how much this tasted like a yeast bread because of the beer.  I love the flecks of gruyere cheese you can see in the crust and on the inside the cheese completely melts into the bread, giving it a wonderful tang.  Beer. Cheese. Bread.  In under an hour.  I mean really, need I say more?  😀

Beer-Batter Cheese Bread

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder  preferably aluminum-free
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 1/4 cups beer    preferably mild-tasting ales, lagers, and pilsners  (dark beers will be too bitter).  I used Coors Light.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 tablespoon of melted butter to brush on top.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat to 375F. Grease an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan. WS goldtouch pans come in this size and they are fabulous.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cheese, sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper until well mixed.  Stir in the beer and 4 tablespoons melted butter until just combined. Be careful not to overmix or your bread will be tough and dense.

Scrape the really thick batter into the greased loaf pan and smooth the top. Brush lightly with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, ~40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack. Cool for 1 hour before serving.

Yield: one 81/2 x 4 1/2 in loaf

Source:  The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

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